miércoles, 7 de diciembre de 2011

H.H. Sivarama Swami: Recalling Gita-jayanti and it’s ultimate message “surrender to Krsna”


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"Planet ISKCON" - 45 new articles

  1. 16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: Justice Fighters Occupy
  2. Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: In the News: Krishna devotees help feed homeless
  3. H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Influenced by impersonalism
  4. H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: The cloud of Hare Krishna
  6. Agnideva das (Adam Helfer), Washington, USA: Culture with a Cause - A benefit for Breast Cancer.
  7. H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Sri Gaura-Natai Lead International Global Warning Conference In Durban, SA
  8. 16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: Ways of Economy
  9. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  10. 16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: Occuwhy?
  12. Spiritual Scientist: Not just Believing, but Belonging
  13. 16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: The Sheeple of America
  14. H.H. Prahladananda Swami: HH Prahladananda Swami visit TKG Academy Gurukula
  15. Japa Group: Overcoming Distraction
  16. One ISKCON.com: Diksa Or Ritvik? – Part Five
  17. Kurma dasa, AU: Mushrooms
  18. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  19. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  20. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  21. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  22. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  23. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  24. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  25. New Vrndavan, USA: 4 New Cows To Arrive In New Vrindaban
  26. Matsyavatara das (ACBSP), Italy: Scientific exploration for the Existence of God. By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)
  27. Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: It will only take a minute... Please rally for New Vraja Dhama/Krishna Valley
  28. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Transcript of the December 3rd podcast
  29. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: An Appeal for Help from ISKCON Hungary!
  30. Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: In the News: Gita Jayanti celebrated
  31. Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: “Happiness” by Jane Kenyon
  32. Nrsimhadeva.com: The Lion Guardian
  33. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Beginning our “Sir, where can we graze here?” campaign
  34. H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Are We Here by Chance ?
  35. Ravinjaya, Indonesia: Knowledge Revitalized
  36. Mayapur Academy, Mayapur, IN: Men’s Samskara class began today
  37. H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Caitanya-caritamrta seminar in Mayapur Part II
  38. Bhakta Chris, New York, USA: The Strange Art of Relationships
  39. Kurma dasa, AU: Don't Mess with Baby Krishna
  40. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Recalling Gita-jayanti and it’s ultimate message “surrender to Krsna”
  41. H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Harinama in Pretoria and Hammanskraal
  42. Krishna Dharma dasa, UK: The light of knowledge
  43. Sachin Kotak, London, UK: Srila Prabhupada's Book Distribution Marathon December 2011
  44. Gouranga TV: Become A Champion Chanter Part 4 Kadamba Kanana Swami
  45. H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Tuesday 6 December 2011--Getting Ready to Hit the Road Again--and--You Are Great
  46. More Recent Articles
  47. Search Planet ISKCON
  48. Prior Mailing Archive

16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: Justice Fighters Occupy

There is a lot about the Wall Street occupiers and their message one can sympathize with. The commonality of their ideals is so ubiquitous that it makes it natural for many to identify with the movement. Even I, a monk who is keeping somewhat of a distance from much of what is going on in the society, am feeling a dose of attraction. As a friend and fellow monk of mine wrote, commenting about the Occupy Wall Street movement:

“I feel the pain of my own parents’ financial troubles. I feel the pain of so many people from the wasted city of Detroit, where I grew up and honed my roots. I feel the pain of people just like me, just like you, who have found that precepts of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as guaranteed in The Declaration of Independence, are a cruel joke laid upon them. I look at many of the young people saddled with college and credit-card debt and I also feel gratitude for my current shelter as a monk, which has allowed me to keep a certain space from being plunged into that kind of angst; an angst which is visceral and existential all at once. Most of all I feel that there are people who are done with being stuck with the survival of the fittest. The 99% are people who are sick of being manipulated and exploited by the 1% who, by all appearances on the surface and underneath, are rigging the system and benefiting beyond any sense of means and decency by a dependence on the inherent shocks and chaos programmed into the system itself.”

By now, similar “Occupy Wall Street” protests have spread to 36 American States. Even the people in England and Canada have joined in.

On Friday, October 7th, 2011, I headed to downtown San Diego to hang out with the San Diego occupiers and to possibly connect with some interesting, progressive-thinking individuals. I met a lot of folks who were just the type I admire: exuberant, thoughtful, creative, aggressive yet gentle, and happy.

The first person I interviewed was Bob. He was with the International Socialist Organization. Bob said, “We have seen ordinary people being hammered down. Right now is a period of economic turbulence, one in which ruling powers that be have decided that ordinary people should pay for it rather than those who caused the crisis – the people at the top of the society.”

The two of us chatted about socialism. I see socialism as something very human, natural, and noble. We both were marveling at how the 99% of the American populace were cheated for years by the 1%. The deception is so deep that even now most of the 99% folks equate socialism with something demonic, associate it with former communist Russia, and look to support capitalism, the system which clearly favors the 1%. Besides that, capitalism is a runaway train of materialism. It forces everyone to severely compete for their market share. It is a “no mercy” system where everyone is trying to step over everyone else. It is brutal and needlessly disturbing. People should rather learn to live simply, quiet their otherwise disturbed minds, and go deeper into life, rather than just skimming on the surface.

Another fellow I met there was expressing his disapproval of “the corporate influence over government and humanity,” as he put it. He had another good thing to say: “This country thinks that competition is good and that infinitely consuming the planet’s resources is not having any effect on us whatsoever. We, rather, want to propose that instead of putting profit before people, we put people before profit.”

“Another socialist idea,” I thought. Cool.

“We don’t think for ourselves a lot of the time. We think under the terms we’ve been told to think about. We have all these thoughts that are not ours.” a girl standing next to us joined in the conversation.

I interrupted, “However, don’t you think that is inevitably happening in every society? Whenever people try to organize themselves, group members tend to conform to the group’s ideals.”

At this point I remembered something George Orwell wrote in his work 1984. To anyone who knows anything about the history of this world, this should sound very familiar.

“Throughout recorded time there have been three kinds of people in the world: the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other. The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim—for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives—is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all people shall be equal.

Thus throughout history the same struggle occurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low by lying to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and the Middle themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims.

Throughout history there has been progress of a material kind. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality an inch nearer. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.”

As I was thinking about this passage, my thoughts were interrupted by another guy standing in our small circle. He was saying that we should not just blame the rich because everyone makes decisions based on options given by our environment. Therefore we should strive to change the environment in order to change everyone, including the rich.

I was not too happy with how the conversation was developing. I felt we were dwelling too much on the details. Details merely run on the platform of principles; so detecting principles is way more important for me. The details of who stole what and how to prevent future theft, even though having its own merit, was somewhat of a superficial plane in my opinion. Principles first, details later. Otherwise you may end up successfully climbing a ladder just to find out that the ladder was resting on a wrong wall.

I asked everyone that was gathered if what they deliberated on was to be considered details, what would be the principles? Not too many liked this question. Some left the circle. In my experience, this often happens. Every time you try to get down to the deep principles, as if sensing a devil, some folks flee. Certain people are just determined to remain on the superficial platform. I wonder why? It might be a psychological thing. It might be that digging deep down to where the principles lie is to run the risk of discovering that which will demand our own personal change. Unless we are sincere seekers, we may opt to give up the truth in exchange for comfort. Pink Floyd sang, “Did they get you to trade cold comfort for change? Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”

One of the guys who stayed with the conversation, a tall 22 year old with curly, long hair, attempted to answer the question. Answers following questions and questions following answers, we were getting deeper and deeper into the issue. Finally he said that the thing he was uncomfortable about, the thing he was rebelling against, was injustice, inconsistency, and lies. I said that physical pleasures are extremely seductive. Money and power, besides providing for such pleasures, also tame the beast of fear for bodily comfort and security. Remembering the above mentioned quote from George Orwell, I asked, “Even if the regime is toppled and replaced with a new one, a good and moral one, how do we make sure they don’t get contaminated by greed for money and power?” My conversation partner, obviously knowing that I am a monk and therefore focused primarily on internal, spiritual development, understood where this train was going. He lowered his head, for some reason, and said with a soft voice that the most important thing is individual internal purity and loyalty to the truth. That is the thing that is seldom taught anywhere in the modern society, and almost never instructed on a large scale and in an organized fashion. If one is rebelling against injustice, inconsistency, and lies, one should feel morally obliged to wipe those out of one’s own heart first. Dr. Martin Luther King said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

I propose that unless we are ready to be true and loyal to the truth, and if we do not make our internal, spiritual development the topmost priority, we are bound to find ourselves climbing a ladder that is resting on a wrong wall. Materialism is a lie, a disease, an inconsistency, it is gross, and it hurts. We ought to endeavor for an achievement that is categorically different. First things first, right?

Now I am reminded of something Tolstoy said, “There can be only one permanent revolution—a moral one: the regeneration of the inner man.”

Sukadeva Goswami, the speaker of the Srimad Bhagavatam said, “What is the value of a prolonged life which is wasted, inexperienced by years in this world? Better a moment of full consciousness, because that gives one a start in searching after his supreme interest.”

I think it is great that the Occupy movement is addressing a good number of lies and inconsistencies. I also hope that the movement does not stop at the mere economic level.

A vedic proverb says, “satyam jayate” – “truth is victory.” Or, as a friend of mine said, “truth works!”

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Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: In the News: Krishna devotees help feed homeless

ENLIGHTENED: Buddhi (front), and Suvana Wilcox prepare the old Roast To Go shop on Water Street, for a new lease on life as the Krishna Food For Life Centre. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
Mike Dinsdale | Wednesday, December 7, 2011 

High levels of poverty and homelessness in Whangarei have prompted a group associate with the Hare Krishna faith to set up a centre to feed the city's poor and needy for free. 

The Food For Life Centre is being set up in Water St and should be open next week, with organisers expecting to feed between up to 100 people each day it opens with free, healthy and nutritious vegetarian food. 

Food For Life Whangarei coordinator Buddhi Wilcox said the group had noticed increasing levels of poor and hungry people in the city and decided to do something about it. 

The Gopals Krishna food shop in Whangarei, set up three years ago, has been feeding several homeless people daily and the Whangarei Womens' Refuge had been taking the food leftover from Gopals to help feed its clients. 

Mr Wilcox said the Krishna faith put a lot of emphasis on healthy food and Food For Life is its welfare arm. He set up New Zealand's first Food For Life Centre in Auckland 20 years ago.Mr Wilcox said he had been talking with social service groups, such as Salvation Army, Te Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing, Refuge, Northern Urban Rural Mission and the Child Poverty Action Group, who all identified growing poverty in Whangarei. 

"The Salvation Army are having people going to them who haven't eaten for two or three days. Our research shows there's a clear need for this in Whangarei now and things are very hard for a lot of people out there." 

Mr Wilcox said all the free food, which would be healthy vegetarian fare, would be cooked at Gopals and taken to the Water St centre. 

He said the centre was relying on donations of food to help feed the poor and all donations of fruit, vegetables and milk would be gratefully accepted. 

However, the group wanted some paint donated to give the centre a spruce up before it opens and needed tables and chairs. 

As well as providing free, healthy food, Mr Wilcox said the centre would also give other tips, such as cooking and nutritional advice and how to feed a family on a limited budget. 

"Anybody can come, rich or poor, but if you can afford it we'd ask for a koha to help us feed those that can't afford to feed themselves." 

Whangarei Child Poverty Action Group spokeswoman Diane Lawson said research showed that nearly all decile 1-4 schools were providing some food for their children while hundreds of families are getting food from social agencies every week. 

"With essential costs like housing, energy and transport continuing to increase, the family food budget becomes discretionary as often it is the only place a family can cut their spending," Ms Lawson said. 

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H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Influenced by impersonalism

(Kadamba Kanana Swami Govinda Valley, Austrailia, 2011) Lecture – Caitanya-caritāmṛta

Kirtanananda asked Prabhupada:

“Why are you always preaching about impersonalism in the west? Here maybe atheisms is the problem, and in India there maybe impersonalism”.

Prabhupada replied:

“You are saying it because you are an impersonalist”.

And later it proved that he was! So we are influenced by impersonalism, because we are not seeing how behind everything in this world, there is a personal aspect. Krishna is the original Supreme Personality, and He has many agents throughout the world!

In ancient times….in pre Christian times, throughout the world there were in various cultures an acceptance of Devas. Acceptance of divine beings that were controlling the forces of nature. We find that in the Greek, South American, African and European traditions. One country in Europe which is particularly an interesting country, is Finland, and the reason why that country is interesting is because they never converted to Christianity until eight hundred years after Christ, which is quite later on in the game…if we think about it. They went on for eight hundred years in amidst the Christian Europe, with their own tribal pre – Christian philosophy, which would have been elves, little trolls and all kinds of small Devas! 

Well that is in mind with actual Vedic culture. So it is interesting how we can see that Christianity had stripped the world from that concept. The concept that everything within nature is impersonal, and then Christianity sort of projected the idea that on the clouds there were heavens!

But nowadays who hasn’t flown around? and who hasn’t seen anybody up there? So therefore under the presence of modern science, Christianity gave up on that idea about heaven on the clouds:

“Oh, well that is only symbolic uneducated men”.

Actually, God is an all pervading loving energy and in this way Christianity also became totally impersonal. And God has been seen as all pervading intelligence, or all pervading love….and that has become more or less a worldview.

The universe has developed a large mechanistic worldview. A large machine where various planets are in their orbits and magnetic fields are keeping the whole thing in balance, and everything is rotating in various ways, and in this way we are simply living in this large machine.

Somewhere remote, behind this machine, maybe there is God….maybe, or maybe not. It is difficult to say and that is a sort of religious worldview. So that is a very poor….a very sterile worldview. It is a kind of a worldview where religion has been step by step been reduced to impersonalism. But in the proper Vedic conception, there are thirty three core demigods, thirty three main principle demigods, that are in existence of one group of assistants. And these assistants are indeed includes elves and various small kinds of creatures. Elves exists….just see! Wow! Childhood fairytales come back…the return of the dwarfs and so on!

In Amsterdam in the sixties we had political party called ‘The dwarfs’ and their philosophy was:

“Dwarfs are better than people, because dwarfs are green…they are gardeners and so on…and they are looking after the environment!”

They were ahead of their time….way ahead of their time due to certain substances that these dwarfs were taking! They had a lot of vision. In the city they had a plan to get rid of cars, and when that didn’t fully fly, then they had a proposal to start roof gardens on cars, just to make up for the pollution. We can understand that they were taking a few too many of something. But the mood was being in the harmony with the environment……………………….Everything in this world is under the control of Krishna, and how everything in this world is having a purpose…….His purpose. The world exists for the purpose of Krishna, not for our purpose!

Therefore Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu’s movement is gradually establishing a totally different approach! Not another worldly approach…..not an approach where one simply chants Hare Krishna all day!

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H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: The cloud of Hare Krishna

Kadamba Kanana Swami Govinda Valley, Austrailia, 2011) Lecture – Caitanya-caritāmṛta 

We have seen many cartoons about the Hare Krishna movement. Of which one cartoon shows a Hare Krishna and around him is a big cloud of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, all around him, and he walks inside of this cloud and then some innocent person is passing by in the street is suddenly being grabbed by a hand that comes out of the cloud and he is being pulled into the cloud. So in there you see lots of commotion.

Afterwards you see the man lying there flat on the road, with a book in his throat! It is clearly in his throat and you see out of the cloud of Hare Krishna, are two hands counting the catch! It’s a famous Hare Krishna cartoon.

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Every morning Prabhupada would take a stroll to one of the nearby parks, sometimes with a few disciples and sometimes with only Sivananda. Sometimes while he walked along the waterfront, Prabhupada would ask about shipbuilding and related industries, and Krsnadasa would answer. When Prabhupada asked Krsnadasa what the population of Hamburg was, he knew. Prabhupada began to jokingly call Krsnadasa "Stats," because he knew so many statistics. 

One morning, while Stats was answering Prabhupada's questions about various cranes used in shipbuilding, Prabhupada turned to the others and said, "You see, although I am the guru and I am taking you back to Godhead, that doesn't mean that I cannot learn from him." 

- Srila Prabhupada Lila, Satvarupa dasa Goswami
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Agnideva das (Adam Helfer), Washington, USA: Culture with a Cause - A benefit for Breast Cancer.

 Live music, silent disco, and Mammogram auction to highlight special evening.

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H.H. Bhakticharu Swami: Sri Gaura-Natai Lead International Global Warning Conference In Durban, SA

(Click on picture to discover India’s Treasure House Of  Spiritual Wisdom) Article sent by His Grace Ramkinkara Dasa Click here to see all article pictures It was a major breakthrough and victory for ISKCON KwaZulu-Natal during its truly International Harinam procession on West Street, that turned into a world class  stage, with international participation and [...]

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16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: Ways of Economy

These quotes are taken from The Light Of The Bhagavata, a book written by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami way back in 1961. It is intriguing to witness today the relevance of those thoughts.

Trade is meant only for transporting surplus produce to places where the produce is scanty. But when traders become too greedy and materialistic they take to large-scale commerce and industry and allure the poor agriculturalist to unsanitary industrial towns with a false hope of earning more money. The industrialist and the capitalist do not want the farmer to remain at home, satisfied with his agricultural produce. When the farmers are satisfied by a luxuriant growth of food grains, the capitalist becomes gloomy at heart. But the real fact is that humanity must depend on agriculture and subsist on agricultural produce.

No one can produce rice and wheat in big iron factories. The industrialist goes to the villagers to purchase the food grains he is unable to produce in his factory. The poor agriculturalist takes advances from the capitalist and sells his produce at a lower price. Hence when food grains are produced abundantly the farmers become financially stronger, and thus the capitalist becomes morose at being unable to exploit them.

Agriculture is the noblest profession. It makes society happy, wealthy, healthy, honest, and spiritually advanced for a better life, even after death.


Leonardo Daniel Henry: Monsanto, DuPont, and Tyson etc. The list goes on forever!

Pancha Tattva Dasa: Yes, Monsanto. The Industrialist has now found a way to exploit the agriculturalist by controlling the seeds. Demons!

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 December 6: "Regarding beautifying the temple, we should always know that every place is temporary, but wherever we live we should decorate and beautify it for Krishna, so go on decorating our temple as nicely as possible."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: Occuwhy?

Only in a country where the average citizen sees 3,000 advertisements a day encouraging them to lick, stick, wear, tear, smoke, suck, nip and tuck until the cows come home can a group of people sitting in a public park be called courageous. America’s consumption-based frenzy has been agitated to such a state by the State, that a couple people doing nothing can and has become a whole lot of something.

“Awh S@#t Man!? They killed Frank?!” All heads in the camp whipped around and eyes were suddenly fixed on the hysterical man with a cell phone in his hand. A stream of expletives gushed from his mouth, with brief interludes of tamer words like “Frank,” “why?” and “how?” Almost as quickly as the heads had turned, three men came jogging with an urgency defying the stereotype of men who lived ‘out of doors,’ and soon our belligerent, bereaved friend was screaming “I’m COOL! I’M COOL!!” in a tone that didn’t help his case. The three men, apparently Judge, Jury and Jailor, came to the conclusion that this man was in fact not ‘COOL’ and they escorted him out of the otherwise public park.

This incident happened upon my second trip to Occupy Detroit’s camp. It was a sunny, unseasonably warm Tuesday afternoon in Detroit Michigan’s prophetically named Grand Circus Park. Grand Circus Park is the token green space of the only 4 blocks within the 143 sq. mile city that visitors bother to venture anymore. Within these 4 blocks, one can access the new pro baseball and football stadiums (Comerica Park and Ford Field respectively,) the Detroit Opera House, the famous Fox Theater and all the accompanying bars and restaurants that cater to the patrons of these establishments. A city with 30% unemployment would certainly have time to enjoy all such bread and circus, but who would have the money? The Suburbanites of course! Convenient access to all major highways at this epicenter of entertainment allow for residents of the deliciously affluent suburban doughnut surrounding Detroit to come and enjoy all the big city fun without ever having to see any of the big city blight that the once mighty ‘D’ is now famous for.

Indeed this small strip of Woodward Ave, the Wall Street of the working man, is all that’s left of 
Detroit’s glory days. Largely thanks to union organization, the Motor City was richest in the world based on per-capita income (circa 1950). Detroit is now the buckle of the rust belt. The story is somewhat familiar by now, and the right or wrong of the details doesn’t matter so much. The jobs that were there in 1959 went to machines or Malaysians by 1999, and all the people that could afford to move out did so… and it was assumed all those who stayed were either stuck or stupid.

Catholic priest joins the protests in Detroit

But at least this little chunk of Woodward, with its quaint, open stores, glass windows and functioning street lights, is a place where those who quit on Detroit could come and forget why they’d forgotten about the city. That was the case: at least, until the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement took hold smack in the middle of this mirage o’ merriment.

Folks here in Detroit are very thankful for the Occupy Movement. Rather than Detroit being considered a social anomaly, Occupiers across the land are waking people up to the reality of the Motor City being the canary in America’s coalmine. Occupiers understand a country that spends $38,000 per year on each prisoner in its penitentiaries and $8,000 a year on each student in its schools is not operating with the best interest of all its citizens in mind. Occupiers understand the system is designed to keep the 1% in progressively growing power through a network of financial institutions, media outlets and government policies. (Possession of cocaine, for example, which is the drug of the rich, is a misdemeanor, while the possession of crack, the drug of the poor, is a felony.) These are truths the American populace in general is slowly coming to realize, and the Occupiers should be commended for being some of the first to collectively say they want nothing to do with this sorry state of affairs.

This is actually the movements strength, inaction. Only in a country where the average citizen sees 3,000 advertisements a day encouraging them to lick, stick, wear, tear, smoke, suck, nip and tuck until the cows come home can a group of people sitting in a public park be called courageous. America’s consumption-based frenzy has been agitated to such a state by the State, that a couple people doing nothing can and has become a whole lot of something.

But this loitering for liberty can only last so long. America is watching, and absorbing. American was designed to absorb, or to “control the causes of faction” as James Madison put it in his 10th Federalist Paper. Faction was the greatest fear of the Federalist debaters who ultimately won out in the argument for America’s foundational structure. Federalists said that “big government means little people can never be too dangerous, they’ll kill each other before they can become strong enough to kill us.” Shocking that such a system was adopted by the men who were already in power… Thomas Jefferson and his Anti-Federalists were given a concession, the Bill of Rights. Jefferson said the beauty of the 2nd Amendment was that ‘it will not be needed until they try to take it.’ He understood their would again come a day when ‘we’ would be ‘they.’

Upon my first visit to Occupy Detroit, a few days before I saw ‘Frank’s’ grieving friend, I strode into camp optimistic and confident. I felt very grateful for the opportunity to share bhakti-yoga with these progressive thinkers. Expecting to find a park full of souls searching for meaning, truth and justice in this bankrupt world, I had a bag full of Bhagavad-gitas and a mridanga on my back, ready for spiritual dialogue.

The Bhagavad-gita As it Is is pure spiritual knowledge, infallible logic explaining the science of the soul. The mridanga is a double-headed drum that creates an intoxicating sound perfectly suited to accompany the congregational singing and chanting of God’s ecstatic holy names. For the average bread and beer American, this spiritual potency descending through mother India can often be too much. However, it is just what the doctor ordered for people who realize they are not what they own. Occupy Detroit, I thought, would be like preaching to fish in a barrel. But instead of coming upon the languid, bohemian scene I had hoped and prayed for… I arrived at camp during a committee meeting. Jefferson would be pleased…

Nathan was speaking. A burly, bearded, ‘outdoorsy’ type… and was offering a summary of his sub-committee’s, the ‘Get S@#t Done Team’s’ efforts over the past week. Nathan’s crew proved to be aptly eponymous. Through their efforts, the local plumbers union had volunteered all the necessary time and resources for repairing the bathrooms that Occupiers were being permitted to use by a local business. The local electricians union had pledged $1,000 plus cable and wire to ‘improve camp infrastructure’ and they were in talks about developing a system to heat the tents of all Occupiers through the coming winter. ‘Infrastructure?!’ Now it was my turn to use expletives.

Taking a look around, I saw a few of the knappy-headed vagabonds whom I thought would comprise the majority of the Occupy population. There seemed to be a few people who, if given the chance, would let me know how long it’d been since they’d showered with an air of accomplishment in their voice. But far outnumbering the couchsurf-protesters were the 20 and 30 somethings dressed in ‘casual Friday’ clothes, as though they themselves had just left work. This was, I realized, the case… as it was 7 o’clock when I came upon camp.

I learned the crux of that, and every meeting, was the week’s demonstrations. On the docket this week was a proposal for everyone to march to a bridge that connects Detroit with Canada. The bridge is privately owned by a man the committee heads gave a long list of reasons not to like. It was unanimously decided that on the following Thursday, Occupy Detroit would be taking up space near the bridge in an effort to draw attention to the proprietor’s improprieties.

The meeting culminated with a clear delineation of those individuals who would be performing ‘civil disobedience’ i.e. ‘getting arrested,’ and those individuals who would be occupying until they were asked not to. Naturally the casual Friday crowd would be bowing out graciously when the boys in blue arrived. 
And who could blame them? Especially in a city like Detroit, when 30% unemployment has a 1/3 of the city wondering how they’re going to eat… who’s going to throw away work just to try and piss off a guy who makes more money in a week than you will in a lifetime? Upon realizing this, I affirmed my own desire to be there in Grand Circus Park and also confirmed my fears about the Occupy Movement.

Srila Prabhupada writes in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita (5.25): “A person engaged only in ministering to the physical welfare of human society cannot factually help. Temporary relief of the external body and mind is not satisfactory.” In other words, if Occupiers focus solely on the material circumstance of our current situation… the war is already lost.

The biggest scam ever pulled by Wall Street has nothing to do with Mortgage Rates or Crude Oil Prices. The most awful thing those men and any man could ever do is encourage a fellow human to think they are simply the body and nothing more. If we think we are merely a bag of blood, bones and piss, we can be coerced into dedicating all our precious time here on Earth to maintaining that sack of flesh. If that’s all we are, that’s all we got… then that’s all we should do.

But if that’s the case, then why would the collective attention of the world be set on a few people sitting in a park? Why would such seemingly insignificant inaction draw so much attention from individuals whose real interest should be the affordability of botox? Because we are more than the skin we are in. Our consciousness can transcend, as Srila Prabhupada put it, ‘the external body and mind’ if it is properly cultivated. Our creativity, our potency, our supreme potential goes so much beyond the name on our jeans or size of their inseam.

This is what I stand for when I visit occupy, and what could be captured from this inspiring movement is a sincere effort as a society to nurture and encourage authentic spiritual growth outside the limiting concepts of man, woman, old, young, black, white, wall street, main street… Though I understand the sentiment behind standing next to bridges and outside banks; ultimately such protesters are like a farmer who paints his barn and then expects the crops to grow. If we don’t address the real issue at hand, we are likely to not see a change that lasts the winter.

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Q: Why have you come to Radhadesh? 
A: To do a Team Building Workshop for the temple department heads, presentations on Devotee Care and Guidance, and personal coaching sessions with individual devotees. And to play some devotional music. 

Q: What is the best way to build an effective team? 
A: Make a plan based on sound principles like mutual respect, personal trustworthiness, trust, encouragement, and alignment with Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Then follow up with an attitude of helping each other succeed. Read this Srimad Bhagavatam text to learn the basis of building spiritual teams: 

Q: What are the three principles that will help teams succeed? 
A: 1) Building trust, 2) Sincere attitude of helping each other succeed (HEOS), 3) Mutual appreciation.
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Spiritual Scientist: Not just Believing, but Belonging

The Bhagavad-gita (4.35) explains that when we become illumined by spiritual knowledge, our level of insight goes far beyond believing in God to belonging to God. When we believe in God, we often tend to think of him as our facilitator and expect him to make things work for us. When we belong to God, we recognize that God is our Lord and master, and realize that we are expected to make things work for him, i.e., we are expected to offer lovingly our very selves to become instruments of his will. Believing in God can give us a sense of security that God will protect our life, but belonging to God gives us a sense of purpose that God loves and values us so much that he believes we can be a part of his plan. As our heart longs not just to live, but to love, what will bring fulfillment to our heart is not just the feeling of believing in God, but the feeling of belonging to him.

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16 Rounds to Samadhi Magazine, LA, USA: The Sheeple of America

As I walk down the streets of downtown San Diego on a Saturday night, I observe flocks of people with shopping bags and glazed expressions, intoxicated from the rush of just having spent a good portion of their pay check at the mall.

Walking past the various clubs, I feel the vibrations of the bass and I can see herds of party-goers grazing on their cigarettes and booze. Inside the doors, I see men puffing up their chests and barking across the dance floor at nearly half-naked females, hoping their mating call will attract a suitable member of the opposite sex for fornication later on that night. Once I pass this scene, I am immediately bombarded with the stench of seared flesh. I turn and see the predator sitting down to consume its prey; he then boxes up the leftovers to bring home to his nest. I turn the corner and am confronted with looming billboards and flashing lights ominously trying to coax my will into purchasing this liquor, that new meal at McDonalds, or whatever unnecessary necessity is out on the market today.


I cannot help but feel overwhelmed by sense-overload. Am I a mere sheep expected to blindly follow down a path seemingly laden with promises of lush greenery yet precariously set amongst many wolves? Can grazing on the pastures of unrestricted sense gratification bring me solace or real fulfillment?

It seems that few question the efficacy of a society who works very hard in order to indulge in primal, animalistic urges such as mating and eating flesh, and whose main purpose is making exorbitant amounts of money in order to satisfy one’s every whim via shopping sprees, intoxication, and mind-numbing television.


It is quite clear that the economic order of consumerism is an influential force in America. With the advent of the industrial and technological revolutions, products can be produced in larger quantities and at faster rates. Subsequently, corporations must now artificially impose a desire for their product, often times at the expense of the consumer’s well-being, in order to be successful.

Most of the population is hypnotized by the concept that material acquisition can make one happy. And with competition as the driving force, consumerism herds many down a path of ultimate dissatisfaction and subsequent disconnection, as we perform work for the sake of personal sense enjoyment.

Americans more and more are subscribing to a “culture of affluence,” a term in psychology which describes a culture that values ‘stuff’ over people, competition over cooperation, and the individual over the group (Levine, 2007). In other words, with so much value placed upon our external attachments and with an ever pressing need to make it to the top in society; we end up exploiting persons and things around us for our own personal benefit.

We exploit animals for the satisfying taste of their flesh, we exploit our lovers and once they no longer satisfy our mind and senses we divorce, and wars are fought over the exploitation of the natural resources. With our personal enjoyment at jeopardy, why let things like solidarity, service, or reciprocity get in the way, right? Such unscrupulous behavior is clearly a source of suffering, yet it’s the trend in most affluent countries—the consequences of which can be seen in young adolescents in our country today.


Most research regarding adolescent mental health finds that affluent teens and preteens, in both public and private schools, have the highest rates of some of the most substantial emotional problems of any group of kids in this country (Levine, 2007). From depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse to psychosomatic disorders, the youth today are becoming more affected from the results of a consumerist society.

Yet, how can we blame them? Bodily-pleasure idolization is publicly displayed in every major source of influence such as television, magazines, mainstream radio and billboards. “Buy this car, eat this cheeseburger, look like this woman so you can be attractive for men, et cetera” and you will be happy and fulfilled. In fact, our culture of affluence suggests that one’s value can be based upon one’s ability to attain such external achievements and temporary material pleasure.

Researchers at Princeton University have found that there is no correlation between material affluence and genuine happiness (Quinones, 2006), calling the link an “illusion.” And the quest to live up to such an illusion leads to the misallocation of our precious time, where we accept dismal and lengthy commutes, which are stressful and aggravating, and we sacrifice time spent socializing with friends and loved ones due to long work hours (Quinones, 2006). Why do we do this to ourselves just to afford “nice things”? If we accept the premise that the consumption of commodities brings happiness, we will inevitably be distracted 
away from the true sources of our well-being.


Why work so diligently all day only to enjoy the most basic material pleasures and comforts at night?

Although we all must perform some work in order to survive, we should really question the purpose behind it all. Am I working for temporary sense gratification, or am I working towards a higher goal? And furthermore, are my endeavors bringing about suffering or genuine fulfillment?

Even animals perform some labor to keep themselves alive and maintained, and they too enjoy basic material pleasures such as eating, sleeping, and mating. But a human’s ability to enjoy these activities in a more comfortable, sophisticated way does not equate to more pleasure or happiness, because these things in themselves are not the goal of life! Are we no better off than a hog or a dog; working solely for the purpose of gratifying the senses without questioning higher truth?

The truth is—those things that make us truly happy are things such as meaningful, compassionate friendship, love, knowledge, and selfless service to others. Making money makes us happy only in so far as it provides for us the basic necessities so that we may cultivate such things. Working solely to satisfy our outer whims, which consumerism puts forth as the means to an end, leaves us with a flickering sense of happiness, and ultimately we’re left frustrated due to lack of internal fulfillment.

So, unless we come to the point of sincerely questioning whether or not there is a higher purpose for which to work, instead of just our base desires to enjoy material pleasure, we are no better off than an animal.

Quiñones, E. (2006, June 29). Link between income and happiness is mainly an illusion. Princeton University. Retrieved November 10, 2011, from http://http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S15/15/09S18/index.xml?section=topstories 
Levine, m. (2007). Challenging the culture of affluence. Nais. Retrieved november 10, 2011, from http://www.nais.org/publications/ismagazinearticle.cfm?itemnumber=150274
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H.H. Prahladananda Swami: HH Prahladananda Swami visit TKG Academy Gurukula

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Japa Group: Overcoming Distraction

Hare Krsna my dear devotees. I hope your week of chanting has been marvelous and you are connected to the Lord through His Holy names. Today I was reading the Harinama Cintamani and there is a nice quote about distraction and also how to avoid that. Here it is: 
Overcoming distraction 
Distraction in chanting breeds illusion which becomes the cause of further serious offenses against the holy name. This illusion, difficult to overcome, engenders attraction to wealth, women, position, success and the cheating propensity. When these attractions cover the heart, the neophyte becomes neglectful of the chanting of the holy name. 
One must make a constant effort to try and drive such attractions away from the mind by diligently following the ways of Vaisnava culture. This will bring back his good fortune.
Wishing you have a nice week in devotional service. 

your servant, 

Aruna devi 

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One ISKCON.com: Diksa Or Ritvik? – Part Five

By His Holiness Danavir dasa Goswami – of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Founder-acarya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The following is an excerpt from a Vyasa-puja lecture delivered by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. Read it and you’ll understand why Vaisnavas cannot abolish the process of gurus accepting disciples.





By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja


“We have taken upon ourselves the responsibility of welcoming this grave charge. All the audience have accepted ordinary seats, I alone have been provided with a lofty seat. All are being told in effect—“Do have a look at a big animal from the Zoo-gardens. What arrogance! So foolish! So wicked! Have you ever seen such a big brute? Garlands of flowers have been put round his neck! What laudations! What bombastic long-drawn, and hyperbolic adjectives! And how complacently too he is listening to the praise of his own achievements, how intently, and with his own ears! He also evidently feels delighted in mind! Is he not acting in plain violation of the teaching of Mahaprabhu? Can such a big brute, so selfish and insolent, be ever reclaimed from brutishness?”


I happen to be one of the greatest of fools. No one offers me good advice on account of my arrogance. Inasmuch as nobody condescends to instruct me I placed my case before Mahaprabhu Himself. The thought occurred to me that I would make over the charge of myself to Him and see what He would advise me to do. Then Sri Caitanyadeva said to me:


“Whom-so-ever thou meet’st, instruct him regarding Krsna,

By My command being Guru deliver this land; In this thou wilt

not be obstructed by the current of the world; Thou wilt have My

company once again at this place.”


In these verses is to be found the proper explanation of the apparent inconsistency noticed above. He whose only teaching is humility greater than that of a blade of grass, said—“By My command being guru save this land!” In this instance Mahaprabhu Himself has given the command. His command being “Perform the duty of the guru, even as I do it Myself. Also convey this command to whom-so-ever you chance to meet.”


Caitanyadeva says, “Tell them these very words, viz. By My command being Guru save this land. Deliver the people from their foolishness.” Now who-so-ever happens to hear these words would naturally protest with palms joined—“But I am really a great sinner; how can I be Guru? You are Godhead Himself, the Teacher of the world. You can be Guru.” To this Mahaprabhu replies:


“In this thou will not be obstructed by the current of the

world;Thou wilt have My company once again at this place.”

“Do not practice the craft of a guru for the purpose of injuring

others through malice. Do not adopt the trade of a guru in

order to get immersed in the slough of this world. But if you can,

indeed, be My guileless servant you will be endowed with My

power—then you need not fear.”


I have no fear. My gurudeva has heard this from his gurudeva. And it is for this reason that my gurudeva has accepted even such a great sinner as myself and has told me: “By My command being guru save this land.” It is only those who have never heard these words of Gaursundara who say “How odd! To listen to one’s own praise!” While the guru is instructing his disciple in the eleventh Skandha of the Bhagavatam what a great sin, in their opinion, is he not perpetuating! What is the acarya to do when he has to explain the sloka, acarya maa vijaniyat: Never disregard the acarya; never entertain the idea that the acarya is your equal in any sense.” These are the words of Sri Krsna Himself by which the jiva is to be benefited. Is the guru to take himself off, to desert his seat—the seat of the acarya— from which these words are to be explained? That office his gurudeva has conferred on him. If he does not act up to its requirements he is doomed to perdition by reason of his offense against the holy Name in the shape of disrespect towards the guru. He has to do it in spite of the fact that such procedure is apparently open to the charge of egoism.


When the guru imparts the mantram to the disciple should he not tell him bythis mantram to worship the guru? Should he say instead, “Give the guru a few strokes of the shoe or the horse-whip?” The guru is never to be decried. The guru is the abode of all the gods. Should the gurudeva abstain from communicating these words to his disciple while reading the Bhagavatam to him? “To him alone who possesses guileless spiritual devotion, similar to the transcendental devotion that is due to Krsna Himself, to the gurudeva, the holy mysteries are manifested.” Is the gurudeva not to tell these things to his disciples? Athau gurupuja: the worship of the guru has precedence over all others.” The guru is to be served just as Krsna is served. The guru is to be worshiped in a particular way. Is the guru to desert his seat without telling all these things to the disciple? In the angle there is always the defect in the shape of absence of the fullness, the evenness of level, of 180 degrees or of 360 degrees. But in the plain surface, in 360 degrees, there is no such defect. That in the emancipated state no defect is possible, this simple truth ordinary foolish people entirely fail to grasp.


As the saying goes, “Having started on the dance it is no use to draw close the veil.” I am doing the duty of the guru, but if I preach that no one should shout “Jai” to me, that is to say, if I say in a round about way, “Sing Jai to me,” it would be nothing short of duplicity. Our Gurudeva has not taught us such insincerity. Mahaprabhu has not taught such insincerity. I have to serve God in the straightforward way. The word of God has come down to the gurudeva; I have to obey it in all sincerity. I will not disrespect the guru at the instance of any foolish or malicious sectarians. Especially as Sri Gurudeva has directed me saying, “By My command being guru save this land.” This command has my gurudeva preached. My gurudeva in his turn has conveyed the command to me. I will not be guilty of any insincerity in carrying out that command. In this matter I will not accept the ideal of ignorant, insincere, pseudo-ascetic sectarianism. I will not learn insincerity. The worldly-minded, the malicious, the pseudorenunciationists,the selfish cannot understand how the devotees of God, spurning at everything of this world by command of God, never, not even for a second, deviate from the service of God through all the twenty-four hours.


Hypocritical sectarians, pseudo-Vaisnava sects, those sects that cherish internally the longing for earthly fame, naturally enough think “What a shame it is for one to listen to the eulogies of disciples occupying the seat of the guru.” But every Vaisnava regards everyone of the Vaisnavas as the object of his veneration. When Thakura Haridasa exhibits the attitude of humility Mahaprabhu says—“You are the greatest of the world, the crest-jewel of the world. Be agreeable, let us have our meal together.” He carried in His arms the body of Thakura Haridasa which is eternally existent, self-conscious and full of spiritual bliss. In the community that follows Sri Rupa, the qualities of desiring no honor for oneself and of readiness to duly honor others are fully present. Those who detect any disparity are, like the owl, blind while the sun shines. They commit an offense by such conduct.


If I disobey the law which has come down to me through the chain of preceptorial succession, the offense due to omission to carry out the command of the guru will sever me from the lotus-feet of Sri Gurudeva. If in order to carry out the command of the Vaisnava guru I have to be arrogant, to be brutish, to suffer eternal perdition, I am prepared to welcome such eternal damnation and even sign a pact to that effect. I will not listen to the words of other malicious persons in lieu of the command of the gurudeva.I will dissipate with indomitable courage and conviction the currents of thought of all the rest of the world, relying on the strength derived from the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva. I confess to this arrogance. By sprinkling a particle of the pollen of the lotus-feet of my Preceptor crores of people like you will be saved. There is no such learning in this world, no such sound reasoning in all the fourteen worlds, in no man-gods, that can weigh more than a solitary particle of the dust of the lotus-feet of my gurudeva. Gurudeva in whom I have implicit trust can never spite me. I am by no means prepared to listen to the words of any one who wants to hurt me or to accept such a malicious person as my preceptor.”

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Kurma dasa, AU: Mushrooms

I get an enormous amount of mail about mushrooms. Here's a blog I wrote three years ago that deserves an airing again. This on was published Friday, September 19, 2008.

shitake mushrooms:

"I have never published a blog about mushrooms, but I am asked about them constantly. Since the Hare Krishna diet appears to be almost identical with many classic Buddhist vegetarian diets where mushrooms are used profusely, people usually presume that mushrooms would be acceptable.

And why are there no mushroom recipes in my books? The reason is that in the ancient culinary Bhakti Yoga tradition to which I subscribe, mushrooms are not cooked. No VishnuKrishna or Rama (Vaisnavaite) temple kitchen will ever prepare them. They are considered unfit foods to prepare in sacred food offerings due to their fungal nature.

Yes, they are nutritious, and yes some Hare Krishna devotees will occasionally eat them. I eat them occasionally. The following exchange, originally about yeast, will shed some light:

Karthick from Houston Texas writes:

"I was wondering about some of your recipes, some of them have yeast in it, I was wondering if this is acceptable to be offered to Krishna. I thought yeast is a living organism, just like mushroom is. Please forgive my ignorance and help me understand this."

My reply:

"Thanks for your letter. Yeast is not a traditional ingredient in Vaishnava cookery, yet we do prepare and offer to Krishnafermented things like khamir pooridosaidlijalebis etc. These are all fermented naturally, with the help of airborne yeasts.

Yes, yeast could be compared with mushrooms. However, it was not specifically banned by our founder Srila Prabhupada(like meat, fish, eggs, garlic, onion, alcohol are). When he first arrived from India, Prabhupada tasted western yeast-risen breads, but he said he found them dry and tasteless, and much preferred his hot, freshly cooked unleavened chapatis.

Prabhupada did not eat mushrooms, and recommended we don't. Most Hare Krishna devotees never touch them, though some do. I have seen devotees in Russia pick them from the forest and cook them. So why this apparent grey area?


Here's a recent exchange of letters about mushrooms:

Malati devi: "And, what about mushrooms? We don't offer them to the (temple) Deities. However, in France, at the Nouvelle Mayapur Chateau (perhaps Kanti will recall this), they found very exotic expensive type of mushroom known as truffles on the property, and the devotees wondered about it."

Kanti devi: "yes, I do recall that, because I started making cream of mushroom soup for the devotees. We had mushroom pizza, mushroom rice, mushroom pakoras, so many mushrooms. There was one French devotee who would bring in crates full that he collected in the forest.

Naturally the devotees (Bhagavan dasa specifically) asked Srila Prabhupada before we did anything with them. The mushrooms were 'cèpes', (not truffles) a large mushroom that grows in the forest, and we had thousands of them. Srila Prabhupada said that 'Lord Caitanya ate mushrooms when he was travelling in the Jarikhanda Forest, and we could as well'. We did not have Radha Krishna Deities at that time, we had a Pancha Tattva altar and Srila Prabhupada said they were offerable to (on the altar to the sacred deity forms of) Pancha Tatva, so we did cook and offer them."

forest mushrooms:

This was a specific circumstance. Prabhupada wanted that the cooks in France did not waste them. But generally, Hare Krishna temple cooks don't use mushrooms; but as you can see in this case, they were not specifically banned like, say, onions and all other members of the allium family. If Kanti devi had been delivered crates of onions picked from the fields, for instance, she would not have prepared them in the temple kitchen. So there is a distinction.

Yamuna Devi, in her entire cookbook collection, has provided one or two recipes that contain mushrooms.

I have only one unpublished recipe containing mushrooms. Otherwise I hardly touch them. They are, after all, a fungus, and do not help to elevate the consciousness like 'satvic' foods do. Hence they are generally included in the category of 'tamasic' foods (foods touched by the lower modes of ignorance).

Hope this is clear. Best wishes, Kurma" "

Here's one final exchange I'd like to share with you:

Jane wrote:

"Isn't it sad that with all the starvation in the world people are debating whether or not by eating (nutritious) mushrooms it may or may not place humans into a lower mode of ignorance."

My reply: "Jane - I think these are two separate issues, in my opinion. This mushroom talk is our in-house discussion, but I just decided to share it with whomever was passing by in cyber space. If we choose to not eat mushrooms, then there will be more nutritious mushrooms to go around for all those starving people. And by the way, The Hare Krishna's are the world's most prolific and generous distributors of healthy cheap/free vegetarian food. best wishes, Kurma"

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 December 6: "As different light bulbs take different amounts of energy depending upon the capacity of the bulb, similarly, according to one's sincere desire to render devotional service, the Lord responds accordingly to enlighten such devotee."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 December 6: "So the guru is not on the scene. He has fled away and nobody knows where he is, but the Krishna consciousness program is going on. So that was also going on during the time of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 December 6: "Sometimes we may differ, but Krishna is the center. Just like there is Radharani's party and there is Candravali's party. So even there is competition in Vrindavan, they will coincide in Krishna."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 December 6: "Our aim is to create men of ideal character. And, if our men are distributing books on this account, they are doing the best service. The end justifies the means. We have to give them even they do not want it. That is our duty."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 December 6: "I blindly follow my Guru Maharaj. I do not know what is the result. So I am stressing book distribution. He told me this personally. You are intelligent boys, you should judge the desire of my Guru Maharaj and help me."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 December 6: "I will come but I must be back in India by mid March. No, I have not stopped traveling. I am trying to go on like a young man, but sometimes the health does not allow. That is beyond my jurisdiction."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 December 6: "I said from the very beginning that we should not move, but you proposed moving, so now you are proposing staying. So that is all right, stay and develop there."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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New Vrndavan, USA: 4 New Cows To Arrive In New Vrindaban

Exciting news from the cow protection front.

Ranaka Prabhu did happily buy two Brown Swiss cows last Saturday via telephone during an  auction held in Wisconsin. They are bred heifers both over two years old.  One is due to freshen (have a calf) in a few weeks and the other in February.

A donor has already given $3,400 and promised another $1,500 next month for the related costs which include vet screening, cost of the cows, and shipping.  The children of the donor will name the cows.

They are due to arrive early next week.

Your servant,
Jaya Krsna das

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Matsyavatara das (ACBSP), Italy: Scientific exploration for the Existence of God. By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)


It is time for science and religion to reconcile and complement each other; this is possible only by realizing the difference in fields of application and results of each discipline.
Prof. V.V. Raman defined science as the collective endeavour to understand the universe in a consistent and coherent way, based on reason, rationality and empirical evidence. By exploring the concept of multiverse, prof. Mann indicated thelogy and science as having different approches to address the question of what is reality; theology’s approach is teleology, a goal-oriented search for the scope of the universe, which the theologies of all traditions share; while science’s approach is ecbatology, that is the search for a necssity and/or chance for the universe as it is to emerge. The exploration of biophilic selection effects, that is life-friendly conditions, reveals that the universe seems fine-tuned for life; two possible explanations for this arise: the existence of a super-intelligent Agent, that is God, or the succession of similar attempts which sooner or later will lead to conditions conducive for live, that is a multiverse.
On the other hand the concept of transcendence in Vedic literature, is beyond space and time, as it is not a physical reality and is knowable only beyond the domain of facts and logic, specifically the domain of science. It seems therefore important to remember that scientific knowledge is basically what the human brain can make of the universe; as prof. Raman wrote, scientific objectivity is but collective subjectivity, while the universe is structured on different levels of information, ranging from a first order composed of physical and biological laws, to a superior order producing experience and reflection. The concept of consciousness, as explored by Dr. Sushant Sharma, comes to play a very important role in our understainding of reality. Alternative models of reality, as in Penrose’s quantum gravity model or in Vedanta and Yoga psychology, state that consciousness is not a result of any mechanistic process, rather it is a symptom of the conscious living force that dwells in the body. Even the brain is treated as non-intelligent, rather it is but a computing instrument, a device that the consciousness uses to express itself.
The concepts presented by the speakers in this session, seem to address the question of what is life, and I would like to propose the exploration of such concepts also with the aid of basic views present in Vedic literature, such as the structure of reality on multiple levels (adhibautikaadhidaivikaadhiatmika) and consciousness as a fundamental attribute of the atman, the conscious, immortal living being and as the very foundation of any representation of reality.
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Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: It will only take a minute... Please rally for New Vraja Dhama/Krishna Valley


A rally call from an old friend and Godbrother, HH Sivarama Swami. This is an inspiring model project in Hungary called Krishna Valley/New Vraja Dhama. Please take a minute to fill out the petition.  

Dear Devotees. 

The new “Church Law” in Hungary will take away ISKCON Hungary’s church status as of January 1st requiring us to reapply for the same next year. However the government has not provided any legal stipulation for the society’s continued ownership of Krsna Valley’s lands in the interim period until we are again reregistered. In short we risk losing Krsna Valley with no pasture for our cows or land to grow our food. I therefore request that you sign the online petition—link below—and forward this message to as many people as possible who would also petition against this injustice.  

Thank you.  
Sivarama Swami.  

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Transcript of the December 3rd podcast

SRS: For those of you asking for more details of why our land is in danger.

Beginning our campaign “Sir, where can we graze here?” 
Today I’d like to talk about a subject that I had mentioned before: the change of church laws in Hungary. It’s a topic I brought up in July, something that we keep on the agenda in the form of a campaign, something that we request listeners to also participate and to help in. 
But let me first give you a little summary in brief. 
In July the Hungarian government submitted a draft law to the Parliament on religious organizations, or as we call them here, churches. According to the draft law, the “churches” in Hungary, over 300 of them, were going to be classified into three different categories. Those that had been in Hungary for hundreds of years were in category one, those who are recognized world religions, like us, in category two. And then other “new” religions in category three. Those who did not fit in either would lose their church status. It wasn’t ideal, but it was acceptable. The declared purpose of this was to weed out businesses that work under the name of religion. 
Anyway, what ended up happening in July was that arbitrarily 14 churches that had been in existence in Hungary and recognized in a law dated 1895 were recognized as existing religious organizations and they would continue to function in the same way in the future while everyone else would lose their church status at the end of this year and would have to transform into religious associations and then reapply for their church status which needed a two-thirds majority vote of parliament. 
Obviously this wasn’t favorable. First of all, there was no particular reason for taking away the church status of churches in good standing, including us, who are the fourth most popular church in Hungary. It also very much affects rights– like for instance, if you are not a church you don’t have tax exemption. It also means your automatic rights to book distribution aren’t guaranteed. It means that, for instance, the government subsidy that we get for our gurukula and for our theological college are lost. If you’re not a church, you cannot have a theological college. All of these things would cease, including the one percent of personal income tax allocated by our supporters on an annual basis. 
Over the period of the last four or five months, we were working on a premise that the existing law would be amended. It needed to be amended because it was messy and on the basis of that amendment, government people said, we were going to be included together with the other original world religions. 
Recently it has come to our notice that there’s going to be no amendment of that law this year, rather, it will go into effect on January 1st as it is now and everyone, including us, will have to apply for re-registration. 
We haven’t been sitting around. We’ve been moving energies, devotees, contacts, on a global level– Europe, India, America, and locally in Hungary. In fact it’s been a full time job for quite a few devotees, taking them away from other services. And one very important thing is, which is going to be the centerpiece of what I am talking about now, is a certain way in which that law actually affects specifically us. 
Unlike any of the other churches in Hungary, we have got agricultural land. And existing land laws state that associations cannot hold land, which means that at the present time, between now and the end of the year, we need some kind of clarification as to what happens to our land come January the 1st. By land we mean 200 hectares or about 500 acres of New Vraja Dhama’s pasturing grounds and agricultural land. We don’t expect that the government is going to come and take it away, still, there’s been no particular law or arrangement made that actually deals with what happens to Krsna Valley’s agricultural lands from January 1st to the time when we are again accepted as a church. That makes the situation of the land is precarious. 
A religious association, not being a church, which is what we would be on January 1st, cannot legally hold agricultural land. It can hold other types of land, like town property and so on. But not agricultural land. So some type of amendment has to be made. 
Of course we’ve seen many politicians and when they wake up to the reality of the situation then they say, “Well of course, obviously something has to be done.” The issue is that time is running out and nothing has been done. 
So now we are focusing on our campaign and this is where everyone else comes in. We are bringing this to the public view that our cows don’t have a future starting January 1. Are they able to continue grazing on the land? What is the status of their land? What is the status of our self-sufficient community which is based on the fact that we grow our own food? This needs to be settled. 
So we are bringing this into the forefront. For that reason we are doing a leaflet campaign and a petition. On December 13th we are going to be outside of the parliament with cows and devotees and kirtan in order to bring this to the attention of the general public as well as of the members of parliament. We will be handing over a petition also to the Parliament to communicate that there is an unresolved problem. They’ve got their church law, but they still have got this loophole that needs to be addressed and we need our lands protected in that regard. 
So how can the devotees here on this podcast help? We are having an online petition at http://www.petitions24.com/krisna, and we request everyone to sign on to that petition. Moreover if every listener also gets ten other people, to sign on, and they, in turn, to get ten more people—all the better. We’re really trying to get lots and lots of signatories, as many as we can to hand over to the government, to show them that this is not just a national concern, but it is an international concern. We need signatories from Russia, from India, from South America, from South Africa, from Asia, from Canada, from Alaska, from the South Pole. Anywhere, anyone listening. Or wherever you know someone, please ask them to just get on the site and do that. 
And we are quite sure that some type of arrangement will be forthcoming. Of course, the easiest arrangement is if the government recognizes our right, “We better give them their church rights back and make some kind of amendment for that.” That automatically takes care of the land problem. If they don’t do that but want us to continue by putting in our application on January 1st, then they have to make some kind of amendment to the land law or to pass some kind of other special law, that deals with this particular issue. 
So this is what the petition says: “Please, you have to deal with this. This is the biggest self-sufficient community in Europe– Hindu community, Krishna conscious community– and it really needs the attention of the Hungarian government.” 
I am not going to deal with the other problems like 1% tax allocation, college status etc. just now. This is the most important thing that we need to deal with because this isn’t addressed. With the other things at least we know where we stand. With the land we don’t know where we stand. And by making it very public and by getting the voice and the backing of many people, then no doubt the government will actually do something. Most likely, their intention would be to do something, but they also have a whole bunch of other things to worry about that is distracting them. 
All right. Thank you very much and look for the link. Hare Krishna.

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: An Appeal for Help from ISKCON Hungary!

We recently received the following message regarding some difficulties that the wonderful devotees in ISKCON Hungary.  We're hoping devotees from our Toronto Hare Krishna Community can sign the petition to help out our fellow devotees in Hungary. 
Dear Devotees. 

The new “Church Law” in Hungary will take away ISKCON Hungary’s church status as of January 1st requiring us to reapply for the same next year. However the government has not provided any legal stipulation for the society’s continued ownership of Krsna Valley’s lands in the interim period until we are again reregistered. In short we risk losing Krsna Valley with no pasture for our cows or land to grow our food. I therefore request that you sign the online petition—link below—and forward this message to as many people as possible who would also petition against this injustice. 
Thank you. 
Sivarama Swami.

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Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: In the News: Gita Jayanti celebrated

TNN | Dec 6, 2011, 07.30PM IST 

PATNA: Bhagwad Gita works as light in life. It helps a person evolve into an exemplary personality, speakers at a Gita Jayanti ceremony held at ISKCON here on Tuesday said.  

"Bhagwad Gita is the guide always. It initiates readers into living a life which is devoted to duty," said ISKCON temple president Krishna Kripa Das. ISKCON had organized a programme to celebrate Gita Jayanti on Tuesday.  

"To some, Bhagwad Gita teaches 'karma yoga' and to some others, detachment from material desires," he added.  

"Lord Krishna had preached the importance of 'karma' to Arjuna who had turned his back on his duty. Today, ISKCON across the world celebrates the day as Gita Jayanti," Nand Gopal Das, a spokesperson told TOI.  

To mark the occasion, ISKCON is distributing Bhagwad Gita at a subsidized rate across the state. The campaign will continue for one month.
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Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: “Happiness” by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
                     It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

Filed under: Poetry        
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Nrsimhadeva.com: The Lion Guardian

(The lion gate keeper at New Jagannatha Puri, ISKCON Berkeley)
In some temples, you will always see Nrsimhadeva above the altar curtains/gate. And even when visiting ancient temples (like in Cambodia and Indonesia), you will be able to see the same lion-faced protector above the entrance archways. 

 In Egypt, the most common sphinx, with the body of a lion and the head of a Pharaoh, represents the close relation between the monarch (the Pharaoh) and the Gods (the lions is closely associated with the sun-god: Ra) 
And who can forget the popular depiction of lions are being valiant King of the Beast. This same perspective is embedded in Ancient Greek fables. Krishna confirmed this in the Bhagavad-gita (10.30); "among beasts I am the lion". Prabhupada commented on it further saying "of the many animals, the lion is the most powerful and ferocious". Hiranyakasipu's benediction was that: he cannot be killed by men neither beast, and Krishna appeared as a man-lion.
In China, lions (or commonly called 'Foo Dogs') serve as guard keepers to temple, imperial palaces, tombs, offices and the home of the government officials and of the wealthy. the lions are always in pairs; the male with a globe in his hand, and the lioness with a cub. 

Lion gates reminds us immediately of the "Simha Dwaram" (Lion Gate) located in Jagannatha Puri. 
This same symbolism is there in other parts of Asia

The throne for distinguished personalities (like the spiritual master), is also decorated with the head of the lion and is therefore called the 'simhasana' or the lion seat
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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Beginning our “Sir, where can we graze here?” campaign

And update on the Church Law in Hungary.

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H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Are We Here by Chance ?

Jayadvaita Swami Here is an golden oldie, but still relevant. It has probably been posted before although i could not find it. But nevertheless this video with Jayadvaita Swami giving class in the ISKCON Temple London on the 13th of september 2009. The first part is a short musical intro and afterwards Maharaja speak on the Bhagavad-gita chapter 9 verse 3.  The questions and answers at the end of the class are really interesting, specially the question about humility. Enjoy!

If you cannot see the video below then please visit youtube.

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Ravinjaya, Indonesia: Knowledge Revitalized

One trait that we all have in common is the ability to attain knowledge from a variety of sources. Learning never stops. Everyday we seem to hear of something outré and the natural inquisitive potency that lies in us all investigates. However, there is more than the usual knowledge we speak of. More than the subjects taught in school or those discussed by scholars. Odd enough, the most important knowledge for mankind remains unknown to most of the population although the answer of these perplexing questions lie within themselves and from the most disregarded sources.

                                                                    The ancient Vedic scriptures of India is the threshold of transcendental knowledge. Its pages are filled with texts written in a language older than Latin and which would take 12 years to learn. Its practices are still practiced to date, being a base of the world's most primeval religious path. It is obvious that the knowledge contained within these scriptures are more than enough to liberate the inquisitive nature as well as the buried spiritual wonder that lies dormant in our hearts. 

The Distinction

Life After Life

Merciful Edibles

Connecting With God

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Mayapur Academy, Mayapur, IN: Men’s Samskara class began today


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H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Caitanya-caritamrta seminar in Mayapur Part II

This is lecture five to nine of a total of thirteen lectures of Kadamba Kanana Maharaja’s seminar about the Caitanya-caritamrta, given from the 7th to the 23rd of November 2011 in Mayapur, India.

In this course, Maharaja explains the book from different angles, while approaching it through overviews of personalities, pictures, quotes and slokas.

The first four lectures are also available on the blog
You can click on each title to download the lectures.

CC-Seminar Part V 

CC-Seminar Part VI 

CC-Seminar Part VII 

CC-Seminar Part VIII 

CC-Seminar Part IX 

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Bhakta Chris, New York, USA: The Strange Art of Relationships

Five years ago I began my life as a monk at a Hindu/Vedic temple in the hills of West Virginia. It was the time of my life in which I burst out of the bubble of my previous life, as a middle-class, suburban young man/student from Michigan, into a whole new culture, into the world of responsibility, and the exhilarating and nerve-racking adventure of adult life, with a deeply spiritual twist. Soon after, I experienced the shock of my life. 

I began to see that some people in our community, despite them all being deeply sincere spiritual seekers in their own way, were having an incredible time maintaining any semblance of a healthy relationship. In fact, their relationships, despite of, or perhaps because of so much personal history, didn't exist on any kind of healthy level, and that this reality was having a negative permeating effect on the community as a whole. 

It was a certain smashing of my own naivete, and for the last five years I have been processing this revelation. I have found the strange art of relationships, both in my own life and in my continued observations of others, to be perhaps the most difficult aspect of any community to grasp, and to keep vibrant and whole. This difficulty is enhanced because without healthy relationships, no community can exist, let alone prosper and grow. 

My heart calls me to process my initial sense of shock, and the resultant dislocation and disillusionment that comes from it, if I am going to understand my role as a loving servant of my monastic community here in New York, and of God. Talking today with my friend Charlie, the saintly and wise sage of Boston, we both were appreciating the necessity of this processing. 

He said it begins with understanding that perfect and peaceful relationships, without any strife, are a utopian ideal best left aside. What really needs to be done is to appreciate the real growth that can be found in finding the proper perspective, based in a deep patience and selfless love in the midst of the inevitable quarrel and hypocrisy which comes to us in our dealings with each other. 

The holy books of the Vedas describe our times indeed as the “age of quarrel and hypocrisy.” Yet the intensity of our time can compel us to truly understand our sacred duty towards each other in the art of the relationship. The Vedic scriptures also describe one who is a madhyama-adhikari, or one who has loving relationships with fellow spiritual seekers, compassion for those who are striving to seek and who need guidance, and who is able to avoid the negative effects of envious or proud people. 

This level of consciousness is a transcendent level to raw selfishness, in which one can be in actual contact with one's conscience, the presence of the Divine within guiding us through the winds of our relations. 

In his commentary to the classic Vedic text the Bhagavata Purana, renowned Vedic scholar and pioneer Swami Prabhupada expands upon this point: 

"God has given advanced consciousness to the human being. Therefore he can feel the suffering and happiness of other living beings. The human being bereft of his conscience, however, is prone to cause suffering for other living beings."1

Recently I have been trying to drag my own conscience up from the dank and grungy space where I have left it. During the recent month of Kartik in our tradition, a time of extended and concentrated introspection and prayer (similar to the times of Lenten or Ramadan, for example), I attempted a meditation to focus on how much I criticize others, either verbally or mentally. 

The first and most fundamental realization I gained from this meditation is that my critical facility runs on automatic overdrive. I realized that most of the time, I don't even notice the voice in my head, which also often finds its way into verbal expression, whining, moaning, cajoling, and chastising others for not living up to some standard that I myself don't even live up to. 

This is a disease, a mentality which rots to the core any semblance of being able to meaningfully relate to others in a holistic and spiritual way. The experience of this meditation was, and continues to be, a cold shock to my system, yet I am grateful for it. It has heightened my awareness of my surroundings. 

For example, in our monastery, we have a small yellow poster taped to the wall near the door. It is the “Four Principles of Community Building” by a renowned and beloved contemporary Vedic scholar and teacher Bhakti Tirtha Swami. I, probably like most others in this monastery, in our sometimes mad rush to do our duties and stay ahead of the clatter of our own minds and the streets of New York City where we live, never really notice this humble yet wonderful document. 

Taking the time to consider it now, BT Swami's paeans to the hope we can share together strike a few essential chords to the processing of our conflicts. 
Take a gander.. 

  1. Treat each person with care as if the success or failure of your own spiritual life depends on this. Do not take into concern how they treat you. The manner in which you treat people is the same way you are treating your spiritual teachers and God.
  2. Anytime there is a problem in a relationship, you should first see it as your own fault. Even if others are to blame, you will only add to the problem by considering them to be at fault.
  3. You should treat every person with whom you come in contact with the same care as the person you love the most.
  4. As we associate with others in our spiritual communities, we should do so in a mood that these are the people I am living with and they would probably also be the people that I leave this body with.
Wow, impossible, I say... 

But that is perhaps just my naivete again, mixed with that rancid spice of cynicism. If we look at these principles with an objective lens, a hopeful lens, a courageous and open-hearted lens, we find essential spiritual technologies which can shatter the pride and envy which stand like barbed-wire tip walls between all of us and the healthy, dynamic relationships we desperately need. 

These principles will allow us to firmly regain hold of our conscience, or our relationship of communication with the presence of God within us. We need to hear His voice within our heart, if we are to hear how our own voice communicates with others, and how we can also listen properly to what others want to communicate with us. 

Otherwise, the dysfunction of our miscommunication robs us of the opportunity to find our voice in His voice. It leaves us mired in the complex state of fear which prevents us from knowing each other, trusting each other, and loving each other in the light of God. 

No progress here comes without serious contemplation. Let us step back and really think about the conflicts in our life, and what we need to do to transcend them and allow them to help make our relationships grow. I hope to write an addendum to this piece soon, concentrating more on Bhakti Tirtha Swami's principles, and also some meditations on the need for some conflict, and the need to acknowledge gratitude, as markers towards understanding this strange art of the relationship. 

I pray you may find some personal meditations of your own through this offering. 

1  A.C Vedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavat Purana)-Fifth Canto, Chapter 26 (Summary), Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
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Kurma dasa, AU: Don't Mess with Baby Krishna

This is one of my favourite illustrations from the original edition of "The Krsna Book" by my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada. I was reading just yesterday about how George Harrison donated $19,000 for the printing of this historic book in 1970.


Here's an excerpt from this amazing pastime. There is a real sense of being in the clouds above Krishna's Vrindavana home. I can almost hear the deafening roar of the wind as it emanates from the mystical demon's fingers.

"One day, when mother Yasoda was patting her baby on her lap, the baby felt too heavy, and being unable to carry Him, she unwillingly placed Him on the ground. After a while, she became engaged in household affairs. At that time, one of the servants of Kamsa, known as Trinavarta, as instructed by Kamsa, appeared there in the shape of a whirlwind.

He picked the child up on his shoulders and raised a great dust storm all over Vrndavana. Because of this, everyone's eyes became covered within a few moments, and the whole area of Vrndavana became densely dark so that no one could see himself or anyone else.

During this great catastrophe, mother Yasoda could not see her baby, who was taken away by the whirlwind, and she began to cry very piteously. She fell down on the ground exactly like a cow who has just lost her calf. When mother Yasoda was so piteously crying, all the cowherd women immediately came and began to look for the baby, but they were disappointed and could not find Him.

The Trnavarta demon who took baby Krishna on his shoulder went high in the sky, but the baby assumed such a weight that suddenly he could not go any further, and he had to stop his whirlwind activities. Baby Krishna made Himself heavy and began to weigh down the demon. The Lord caught hold of his neck. Trnavarta felt the baby to be as heavy as a big mountain, and he tried to get out of His clutches, but he was unable to do so, and his eyes popped out from their sockets. Crying very fiercely, he fell down to the ground of Vrndavana and died..."



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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Recalling Gita-jayanti and it’s ultimate message “surrender to Krsna”

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H.H. Kadamba Kanana Swami: Harinama in Pretoria and Hammanskraal

In South Africa, Kadamba Kanana Maharaja first visited the ISKCON temple in Pretoria, the country’s capital. Arriving there, Maharaja was warmly welcomed by the Pretoria devotees, as well as by three devotees from Czech, who are right now visiting South Africa to push forward the activities of book distribution and Harinama during the Prabhupada December marathon.

Of course, already on the first day after arrival the whole temple went out on a big Harinama through the inner city of Pretoria. It was ecstatic dancing and singing all the way through, led by Kadamba Kanana Maharaja and by Prahlada Prabhu, one devotee of the Czech crew.

The next day the transcendental Harinama party continued their Sankirtana Yajna in a nearby township called Hammanskraal. There a whole group of children from the township joined the Harinama and brought live in the procession. The positive emotions towards the Harinama, that some of the people living there showed, were simply wonderful.

All in all it was a special experience of how Krsna conciousness can spread great happiness amongst all the people here in South Africa.

If you cannot view the slideshow, please visit flickr!

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Krishna Dharma dasa, UK: The light of knowledge

I have just started another series of Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2. The first was on the theme of Light. 

I am a bit of a light fiend myself, always leaving them on all over the house, much to the annoyance of my cost conscious wife. We’re not made of money, she reminds me, as I sit bathed in the glow of every bulb in the room.

She’s right of course, as always, we shouldn’t waste energy, but we do need light. We can’t do much in pitch black darkness, except maybe sleep or grope around for a torch. Darkness is not particularly pleasant, invoking fear in many of us as we don’t know what might be about to spring out of the gloom and suddenly assail us. Really it is a state of ignorance and in fact the Bhagavad-gita in its first instruction exhorts us to come out of the darkness and into the light, out of the cloud of unknowing and into the effulgence of pure knowledge.

Being in darkness means suffering. Stumbling around sightless we are likely to hit hard obstacles, and that hurts. It is the same as ignorance. Not being able to see what to do and what not to do, what is right and what is wrong, we are likely to act foolishly and experience painful results. We may think that a surfeit of sensual pleasures will lead to happiness, but we soon discover that there is a hard price to pay, on our bodies, our minds, on others and on our environment.

Therefore God instructs us to seek the light of divine knowledge, of knowing him and the path to pain free pleasure he wants us to enjoy. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, “God is light, ignorance is darkness, where there is one there cannot be the other.”

Basking in the brilliant light of spiritual truth we become free of all suffering. We see the obstacles to our real happiness, recognise who we truly are and where we belong. We want knowledge, to know what is going on and what is what. News and information channels flood the media these days to satisfy that desire. But ultimately we need the illumination of complete knowledge, of spiritual enlightenment, a state of total awareness that reveals everything we seek but struggle to find in a world of darkness.

So let’s try to leave the lamp of Divine guidance always burning. I know my wife won’t mind that.

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Sachin Kotak, London, UK: Srila Prabhupada's Book Distribution Marathon December 2011

Hare Krishna dear devotees! 

Today is the first day of the Book Distribution Marathon 2011! 

The Weekend Warriors team are up for visiting towns all over London. Please feel free to contact me if you want us to visit your local town. So far this is our schedule for the month. Each event runs from 11am to 4pm

Sat 3-Dec-11 
Ilford (Town Hall, 128-142 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1DD) 
Kingston (The Bentall Centre, Wood Street, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1TP) 
Edgware (The Broadwalk Centre, Station Road, Edgware, HA8 7BD) 

Sat 10-Dec-11  
East Ham 
Uxbridge *tbc (The Pavillions, 18 Chequers Square  Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1LN) 

Sat 17-Dec-11  
Wimbledon (Tesco Metro, Centre Court Shopping Centre, 4 Queens Road, London, SW19 8YD) 
Ealing (Ealing Broadway Centre, Body Shop, 56 The Broadway, Ealing, W5 5JN) 
Upton Park 

Sat 24-Dec-11  
Ealing (Ealing Broadway Centre, Body Shop, 56 The Broadway, Ealing, W5 5JN) 
Edgeware (The Broadwalk Centre, Station Road, Edgware, HA8 7BD) 
Stratford / Barking 

Your Servant 

Sacinandana Karuna das 
07535 211 555 

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Gouranga TV: Become A Champion Chanter Part 4 Kadamba Kanana Swami

Become A Champion Chanter Part 4 Kadamba Kanana Swami

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H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Tuesday 6 December 2011--Getting Ready to Hit the Road Again--and--You Are Great

A daily broadcast of the Ultimate Self Realization Course Tuesday 6 December 2011 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, and His eternal consort, Srimati Radharani are enjoying transcendental pastimes in the topmost planet of the spiritual world, Sri Goloka Vrindavan. They are beckoning us to rejoin them. (Click on photo to see a larger image.) Our Mission: To help everyone awaken their original Krishna consciousness, which is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. Such a global awakening will, in one stroke, solve all the problems of the world society bringing in a new era of unprecedented peace and prosperity for all. May that day, which the world so desperately needs, come very soon. We request you to participate in this mission by reviving your dormant Krishna consciousness and assisting us in spreading this science all over the world. Dedicated with love to ISKCON Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master, and to you, our dear readers. For Transcendental Association Connect With Other Members of this Course. Join this Conference: http://groups.google.com/group/sda_students Help Popularize Our Message By Liking Today's Thought on Facebook: Today's Thought: Getting Ready to Hit the Road Again uploaded from Bhaktivedanta Ashram--Austin, Texas USA After a wonderful break from the rigors of the road we are heading out tomorrow (Wednesday 7 December 2011) for another around-the-world lecture tour. This time I will be speaking in Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and Los Angeles before returning to our home base here in Austin on 14 January 2012. Traveling to spread the glories of Lord Sri Krishna is the sweetest, most exciting adventure. I am very thankful to my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, and to Lord Sri Krishna that I have been blessed with the opportunity to spread this sublime science of Krishna consciousness all over the world, both through the internet and through traveling. Sankarshan Das Adhikari My Most Merciful Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada http://www.backtohome.com/images/Prabhupada/spjapa.jpg Answers by Citing the Vedic Version: Appreciation: You Are Great Dear Spiritual Master, You are great. Without being citizen of India and born in a Hindu family, what you are doing as a Krishna bhakta, a devotee of Krishna, is unbelievable. We are thankful to you. Many souls who will return back to home to God will be thankful to you. Regards, Pankaj M. Response: My Spiritual Master is Great, Not Me. Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. It's not really me who is great. It is my spiritual master who is great. Therefore I can only accept your kind words on behalf of my spiritual master. It is he who has so mercifully saved me. He picked me up from the gutter of gross materialism and engaged me in the sweet service of Lord Sri Krishna. Therefore I cannot take any credit at all for the wonderful spiritual life that I am living every day. If I have any credit at all in this connection, it is that I am sincerely carrying out the instructions given to me by my beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Were it not for him I would simply be a degraded misfit. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Transcendental Resources: Receive the Special Blessings of Krishna Now you too can render the greatest service to the suffering humanity and attract the all-auspicious blessings of Lord Sri Krishna upon yourself and your family by assisting our mission. Lectures and Kirtans in Audio and Video: Link to High Definition Videos Link to Over 1,000 Lecture Audios Lecture-Travel Schedule for 2011 http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/schedule Have Questions or Need Further Guidance? Check out the resources at: http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com or write Sankarshan Das Adhikari at: sda@backtohome.com Get your copy today of the world's greatest self-realization guide book, Bhagavad-gita As It Is available at:http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/store Know someone who could benefit from this? Forward it to them. Searchable archives of all of course material: http://www.sda-archives.com Receive Thought for the Day as an RSS feed: http://www.backtohome.com/rss.htm Unsubscribe or change your email address Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Daily_Thought Thought for the Day on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Ultimate.Self.Realization Copyright 2005-2011 by Ultimate Self Realization.Com Distribution of this material is encouraged. Simply we request you to acknowledge where it is coming from with a link to our sign up page: http://www.backtohome.com Our records indicate that at requested to be enrolled to receive e-mails from the Ultimate Self Realization Course at: This request was made on: From the following IP address: {contact_address

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